We are shocked and saddened by the reports that veteran New York rapper Biz Markie has passed away at age 57. TMZ say they've confirmed the news with a family source:

Rapper Biz Markie -- most famous for his iconic hit "Just a Friend" -- has died after a series of complications from diabetes that he's been fighting for more than a year ... TMZ has confirmed.

A family source tells us Biz passed away in a Baltimore hospital at 6:25 PM Friday night. We're told his wife, Tara Hall, held his hand as he took his last breath ... and the nursing staff was there to support his family, telling them how strong he was through his fight.

A rep for Biz tells us, "We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time. Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter."

Biz's rep Jenni Izumi also gave a statement to Rolling Stone:

It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away. We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time. Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one.

Biz Markie's brother also appears to have confirmed the news via Facebook:

Rest in peace, Biz.

You can read tributes to Biz from Q-Tip, El-P, Freddie Gibbs, Bootsy Collins, and more.